Pittsburgh Half Training: Week 7

Happy March! February is gone, but Father Winter is still holding strong. February was the second coldest February in Pittsburgh since 1871, with average temps of 18.5, according to our local paper. March greeted us this morning with a snowstorm, but I hope better weather is in our near future. I'll be doing a recap this week on how I did on my February goals.

This past week was my toughest week so far. Let's get to the recap.

Week 7 Grade: B+

40 minutes total body strength training
40 minutes yin yoga, hip series

Easy run: 4.2 miles, 50:12 minutes, 11:58 pace
With -8F temps in the morning (real temperature, "feels like" was worse), I decided for the first time this winter to not run in the morning and instead run at lunch after it had warmed up. Like I said last week, I'm such a hardcore morning exerciser that running at any other time is very tough. Running after work is almost out of the question for me, so I did my first runch...and loved it! I work in Oakland so was able to run on the long hill on Forbes up to Squirrel Hill and then on another very long hill on one of the side streets. It was 16 and sunny when I went out, and it was nice to run in the sun, when it wasn't super frigid and on a new route. The only challenge to this run is because there were so many people out, it was very hard to stick to my heart rate zone for an easy pace, so I ended up running a little faster than I should have for an easy run.

Hill repeats: 4.5 miles, 1:06
It was 22F when I went out in the morning and felt good. Yes, again, it's sad when 22F feels good. I had 3 miles of hill repeats on the schedule. With most of the sidewalks still icy on all the hills near me, I found a short, steep hill on one of the side streets going up to Troy Hill and ran in the road since the street doesn't get much traffic, especially at 5:30 a.m. I should have been running on a longer hill, but given the ice this was the best option. This run was tough! The hill was short--just over .1 miles--but I did 12 sprints up with very slow jogs back down. It was a mental struggle the entire time, which my mind insisting that I could not complete 3 miles of repeats and that it would be okay stopping at 2.5 or even 2. But I pushed on and got all 3 miles in. I do wonder if not running Tuesday's easy run at a truly easy pace made this run harder. I did 1.5 easy miles for warm-up and cool-down.

Easy run: 4.65 miles, 59:20, 12:46 pace
It was 20F but windy so felt pretty cold when I went out in the morning. I ran across the bridges and got in six bridge climbs and then around the stadiums on the North Shore. The only problem with this run is that I felt just a teeny tiny touch of a twinge in my right hip. I suspect it was from Wednesday's tough hill workout.

I also did 45 minutes of strength training.

Rest day! To give my hips some love, I did a 30-minute hip-opening sequence from Yoga Journal. This is one of my very favorite yoga videos. It feels so good, and I love the instructor. She says things like, "Let your hips be open to the gifts you're giving them." Ha! This video did the trick, because my hip feels fine now.

Long run: 10.13 miles, 1:55:06; 11:22 pace
I ran the Spring Thaw 10-Miler race as my long run (stats are from my Garmin). This was my first double-digit run of this training cycle, and my first 10-mile race ever. I will be writing a race recap this week, but the short version is that it was the coldest race I've ever run (was 9 degrees at start time), I met my goal for the race, I learned some things about my training and where I need to improve, and I got to meet and hang out with other Pittsburgh running bloggers--Amanda (who ran a crazy awesome race), Nichole (who finished only a few minutes after I did after doing 15 miles instead of 10!), Joanna (who I ran with and who was a great running buddy), Steff (who decided to run the race at 7:30 that morning!), and Chelsea (who lives near me in the Northside, yay!).
Amanda and me staying warm inside before the start
of the Spring Thaw

I didn't get home from the race until late, and by then the dog was raring to go on a walk, so I completely forgot about strength training. Oops! 

With temps getting up to 27 in the afternoon, we took Django on a walk through the Manchester neighborhood in the Northside.
Wearing my Spring Thaw knit hat I got at the race.

Recovery run: 5 miles, 1:08:44, 13:45 pace
I woke up to a few inches of snow on the ground and still falling fast. Because I ran the 10-mile race at a moderate pace and worked hard in the second half, I decided to make today's run a recovery run instead of a pace run. It was 28F but just a mess out. The first half of my run no sidewalks or roads were clear, and it was so hard running in the snow. I was fatigued to begin with, but it was just so tiring and hard to slog through the snow. The snow was coming down hard and was hitting my face in painful little stings. On the second half, some roads and sidewalks had been cleared, which resulted in a ton of messy slush. It was basically just a big mess. I did try to add in some bridges, but my legs were so tired that they complained loudly when I went up the inclines, so after that I stuck to the flat parts near the stadium. Even though my heart rate was very low and pace very slow, this was still a tough run because I was so tired from the race. Again, my mind told me to quit early, that I'd just run a race, that I didn't have to run all 5 miles and could even just do 3, but I held on and got it done. After I downloaded my Garmin, I saw that I inadvertently did a progression run, with each split just slightly faster than the last. I saw two other runners out, both running in the middle of the street on the yellow line, so that cars coming from behind them had to quickly brake, not good on snow-covered roads. After that happened a few times, they got onto the sidewalk, but geez. Who runs in the middle of the street?!
Duct taped my shoes again for this snowy run.
After the run I did Recovery Yoga video from Runner's World. It felt so good!

Happy running and working out this week!

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